Local Jewish boy cast in TV’s Christmas special

By Eva Trieger

Eva Trieger

SAN DIEGO — As we turn a page on the calendar, the holiday season is fast approaching, and with it, one of the season’s most beloved movies is having a revival.  A Christmas Story LIVE! will air on Fox December 17th. Yes, you recall this story, Americana at its Wonder Years best!  Meet Noah Baird, who played Randy, the little brother to Ralphie, in the 2013 national tour.  The show brought down houses in Hartford, Boston and New York City’s Madison Square Garden!  After catching up with Noah and Director, Becky Baird, aka Mom, I am not surprised.  Even over a cell phone, Noah’s unbridled enthusiasm and wholesomeness came across.

Lest you let that innocent, cherubic face deceive you, this veteran actor-singer-dancer has been on stage and screen since he was six months old.  He portrayed the younger version of actor, Jeff Daniels, in Mama’s Boy, a 2006 Tim Hamilton motion picture.  After that Noah auditioned for commercials and other television spots.

If you’ve ever pondered the Nature vs Nurture question, this case history may just clear it up! Straight out of college, Becky Cherlin Baird, Noah’s mom, founded the JCompany Theater.  Her vision, fortitude and engaging manner won her the support of many JCC backers and created a space that flourishes today under the direction of Joey Landweher.  Baird was at the helm from 1993 until 2005, when Noah was born. Dad plays musical instruments in a band. So you see, the limelight truly courses through Noah’s veins.

Though a resident of Carlsbad, Noah quipped to his mom that it felt more like a vacation home since he is so seldom here.  Before heading to New York for A Christmas Story the Musical which ran in 2013, Noah was seen on several San Diego stages in a variety of roles.  He has graced Moonlight Stage in Wizard of Oz and Fiddler on the Roof, wowed audiences at the Old Globe in How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and has done a number of shows with San Diego Musical Theater including Annie Get Your Gun. At the Shubert Theater in NYC, Noah made his Broadway debut and landed the roles of Eric and Nigel in Matilda (2015-2017). For this upcoming production, Noah is in the boys’ ensemble where he told me he does “tons of singing and tons of dancing.”

Eager to know how this seasoned thespian balances schoolwork and acting, I asked Baird to explain in a telephone interview from Los Angeles his tutoring schedule and the mandatory hours he must spend studying daily.  He reported that his parents are conscientious about this and he is able to conform to the requirements through homeschooling.  Will he continue this through high school I wanted to know?  “Maybe,” was the answer I received.  However, Noah felt sure he’d pursue acting in college.  How he will blend his dream of being a chemist and a car designer with his passion for acting will be worth following.

I was curious to know how Noah felt about his fellow actors, as he’s shared the stage with a number of well-known stars and starlets.  John Bolton who played Dad was described as so nice and hysterically funny.  Matthew Broderick, Narrator of A Christmas Story Live! is another who received high marks from Noah for his kindness and skill.  Jane Krakowski, in the role of Ms. Shields, the teacher, and Mom, Maya Rudolph also top Baird’s list. The young actor feels he is always learning from these more mature actors, and relishes the opportunity to “see a step done differently that inspires me to try something new.”

When asked to compare and contrast the climate of the coasts, both figuratively and literally, Noah stated that the people on Broadway are so nice, and the environment is charged and energetic. “It is a musical theater actor’s dream. San Diego is slower paced; people go with the flow”. When asked about the challenges of being a San Diegan in snowy Manhattan, Baird reported that he likes cold weather better than hot.

What advice would Noah Baird give to other aspiring actors?  “Be true to themselves.  Don’t try to be an exact character.  Don’t copy anyone, but do your own version of a character.”  Sage advice for on and off the stage, I thought.  Noah is grateful to his supportive family, including his grandparents, parents and sister, Talia.  He is also very thankful to his dog for having his back.

A Christmas Story Live! is inspired by the Tony Award-nominated Broadway production of  A Christmas Story The Musical.  Benji Pasek and Justin Paul (La La Land) have composed new music for this special live television event.

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Trieger is a freelance writer who specializes in coverage of the arts. She may be contacted via [email protected]

 

 

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